The I Am A Rural Teacher project (IAART) is ongoing shared work of the National Rural Education Association (NREA) and Rural Schools Collaborative (RSC). A lot of insights regarding the rural teaching profession have come from this project over the years, and the RSC Staff has compiled their thoughts in this article
One thing that IAART started out doing, and continues to do, is raise the voices of rural teachers. It may seem simple, but by asking questions and sharing the answers, folks see the reality of the teaching profession and the passionate people in it.
A rural teacher is more than just a person who shows students how to do algebra or read Shakespeare. Rural teachers in many instances act as parental figures for students. In a world that is increasingly individualistic and losing the village, rural teachers are a last bastion of this community-focused way of supporting children.
Thank you to every single rural teacher who has participated in IAART, for those who work daily without a spotlight, and to the advocates who continue to support this project. This work is important because it emphasizes the most important aspect of rural education, and of rural communities - the people.